The Democratic Alliance (DA) has formally cleared its leader Mmusi Maimane of any wrongdoing over his links to controversial figures.
In a statement on Friday, DA’s Federal Finance Committee chairperson Dion George said he’s “satisfied that there exists no financial illegality” on Maimane’s part.
Maimane has recently been under pressure after it emerged that he drove a Toyota Fortuner paid for by Markus Jooste, the disgraced ex-CEO of Steinhoff.
Jooste is alleged to have engaged in insider trading and financial impropriety as Steinhoff’s CEO.
He has been blamed for the company’s dramatic collapse, which wiped out a reported R20 billion in investments from public pension funds.
Reports also emerged that Maimane and his family are living in a Cape Town home owned by Durban businessman Wessel Jacobs. Questions were raised whether he’s paying rent or not.
In his statement, George said Maimane himself requested a “due diligence investigation” by the Federal Council following the “anonymous leaks.”
He said he formally met Maimane on 30 September and 4 October. Maimane produced “the relevant facts” backed by documentation, he added.
George confirmed that Maimane had used the Fortuner, but sought to return it immediately the Steinhoff scandal broke.
There was however a delay because of his trip to the United States and a DA Federal Congress in Gauteng.
With regard to Maimane’s home, George said Maimane paid a R450,000 deposit for it and R18,400 rent per month has been deducted from this amount since April 2018.
A balance of R100,540 remains, he said. However, there is no formal lease agreement in place between Maimane and Jacobs’ company.
DA’s clearance of Maimane comes just hours after its former leader Helen Zille announced she will contest for the Federal Council chairperson position later this month.
The announcement may deepen intrigues within the party, as Zille defended an Institute for Race Relations (IRR) writer’s call for Maimane’s resignation this week.